Thursday, November 10, 2016

Halfway through Royce's first year


This may be my second rodeo, but I still find it completely mind blowing just how quickly babies change. Royce has had so many firsts and big transitions since I’ve posted about him. (Or at least, since I’ve done a specific update post, since all my posts are about kids now.) He's now more than halfway to his first birthday and has officially doubled his birth weight at nearly 16 pounds! The day he turned six months, I couldn't bring myself to put him in his crib at bedtime, and just held him for hours and cried. I love this fun baby age, but it's racing by way too fast.


Just loving on each other as per usual.

The day I ran the half marathon, Royce somehow flipped himself onto his stomach while completely swaddled. I’d always heard that you have to make sure you stop swaddling babies once they are able to roll IN the swaddle, but I assumed it was just something the swaddle companies said to avoid getting sued. I never thought it was something a baby could actually do. I certainly couldn’t roll 180 degrees in what is essentially a strait jacket. But apparently Royce is living up to his name, and rolling like a champ.

Like this, except he flipped to his belly while both his arms were IN the swaddle

So I was faced with one of my biggest nightmares: stopping the swaddle cold turkey. There was nothing I wanted to do less, but it was now a safety issue. (If he rolled to his belly while swaddled, he may not be able to roll back and could potentially suffocate, even though luckily when he did it as a surprise to us he was smart enough to raise his head and yell for Eric.) It did not go well. The whole point of a swaddle is that babies don’t really understand how to use their hands and tend to smack themselves in the face and yank the pacifier out repeatedly and as you may imagine, this makes it difficult for anyone to fall and stay asleep. I was already exhausted from the race, and now sleep was a total shit show.


We tried all different things, one arm out, both arms out, no sleep sack, holding on to a lovey to give his hands something to do, sleeping on his belly, etc. We had varying levels of success but he still wasn’t really sleeping too well. Finally, I caved and moved him into his own room. I really didn’t want to. I say it’s because I don’t want to go up and down stairs in the middle of the night to feed him, but really it’s because I like having him close and I miss him. However, in addition to the slapping himself in his own face issue, he has become more sensitive to noise and when I would come up to bed he was waking up at the slightest sound, so I can only imagine I was waking him throughout the night.



Once we moved him to the crib, we started to work on moving him away from night nursing like we did with Dalton at this age. Not night weaning, just not using nursing as the go to every time he wakes up. If he is crying (not fussing, but actually crying), Eric goes on and works on soothing him, and, failing that, brings him to me to eat. Eric is usually able to get him back to sleep, so the past week or so I’ve only had to wake up once or twice a night to nurse. It’s glorious. I feel like a new woman. I don’t even sleep with the monitor (Eric keeps it with him) so I don’t hear anything and only have to wake up if Eric brings him in. Our pediatrician was adamant with Dalton that he didn’t need milk at night nutritionally, but that didn’t feel right to me so I continued to nurse at night if needed until he weaned completely.

With Royce, I saw a medical student for his six month visit (with the pediatrician supervising). He said that all babies are capable of sleeping through the night at 6 months. This seems crazy to me - every other baby milestone has a huge range of when they might reach it, but at 6 months they can magically all sleep through the night? I don't buy that. While many babies do, it hasn't been the case in our family and I don't see anything wrong with that. I also feel Royce is still hungry during the night, especially since he often only has two of his three bottles at daycare. I think he’s holding out for straight from the tap, which is fine with me. I don't really appreciate when people give me their opinions on how much food should be on my plate, so who am I to decide when my kids should or shouldn't be hungry? (Not that our house is a toddler free for all snack buffet.)


Sadly, Royce had his first illness recently.

Poor little guy was crying a lot at night, so unlike him.

I picked him up from daycare last Monday, and our sitter said he’d woken up from his nap feeling hot. His temperature was 101 when we got home, not really concerning, but enough of a fever that we decided to keep him home the next day. That night, he cried every time I tried to lay him down, so he ended up sleeping in bed with me, nursing most of the night, just like when he first came home from the hospital. In the middle of the night, I realized he was burning up and his fever was almost 103. Poor poor Royce. It ended up being an ear infection, nothing a little amoxicillin couldn't fix.

First time in the swing!

Royce was back to his normal cheerful self just in time for the big sixth month event - starting solids!

First up: avocado, which he mainly just played with, but he seemed to enjoy that and Dalton certainly found it fascinating.

First time in his high chair!
Carrots are really where it's at.



I wasn't sure about this whole baby led weaning thing but I sliced up a carrot and roasted it with some cinnamon and nutmeg (allowed? unclear) and Royce loved it. He was able to pick up the pieces from his tray and get them in his mouth! He did a more sucking and gnawing than eating, but he definitely seemed to like the taste and was really focused on getting more pieces in his mouth.



We've packed up so many baby items recently. The rock and play, bouncer, and the baby bath. Royce has graduated to the duckie tub!


Dalton just makes my heart explode every day with his love for his little brother. We went to Wegmans the other day, and I usually wear Royce in the ergo while pushing Dalton in the cart. We were lucky enough to snag a tractor cart (full disclosure - I made Dalton sprint towards it with me when I saw another family with young kids in the parking lot - Wegmans only has like 3 of those carts so you have to be ruthless). Dalton said "Royce sit here" very insistently, and while I wasn't totally sure Royce was ready, since he can't sit up on his own yet, I tried it out. As soon as I put Royce in, Dalton started showing him how to put his hands on the steering wheel to "drive". I died.

Tell me this doesn't warm your heart.
Dalton is constantly checking in with Royce, giving him a hug or kiss or making sure he has a toy. Patience doesn't tend to be a strong suit for toddlers, but Royce often grabs his hair, as babies do, and since Dalton has an amazing afro, Royce really gets his strong baby grip in there. Dalton always just calmly gets our attention to ask us for help, and never tries to shove Royce away or get aggressive with him. It just blows my mind that he has been so loving towards him since the very first day he came home from the hospital. The sibling bond is truly amazing.

That pretty much sums up life in our household lately! Every time I turn around, Dalton is saying something new or doing something so sweet and/or hilarious, and Royce just chills, smiles, and takes it all in (or spots something interesting on the other side of the room and rolls away).






Thursday, October 27, 2016

A foolproof solution for a baby who hates sleep


Step 1: Drink coffee. All the coffee. You aren't pregnant anymore, the sky's the limit!
Step 2: Accept it, you had a baby, it's your life now, no one likes a whiner.
There is no step 3

Optional step: Rejoice in the fact that your baby is cuter than all those pro sleeping babies.

Squishy newborn I MISS IT.

I have two beautiful, healthy sons, and every single day I'm in awe of how smart, funny, sweet, and generally perfect they are. While they have so many talents, there is one thing they both suck at: sleep. (But apparently when they do sleep, I creep on them, because this post is filled with their sleeping pictures.)

Baby sleep is quite the tricky beast. Adults love sleep. Babies hate sleep. We're at odds that way. The really confusing part is that some babies actually do love sleep. They sleep for their parents quite easily. Then, these parents go on to write books, websites, messages in the sky, etc about how to get a baby to sleep. After all, they must be the experts right? Their baby sleeps. Yours doesn't.



My theory is that the universe just gifted them an easy sleeper. Some people even get multiple easy sleepers. That's great for them. But it doesn't necessarily mean they have any useful advice for those of us who aren't in that boat. Example: The Sleep Lady. Wrote a book. Probably makes lots of money. Her kids both slept through the night (STTN) by 8 weeks old, which she admits herself in her book (that I stupidly bought). Tell me again how you are an "expert"?

The biggest thing I heard as a frustrated new mom was put the baby down "drowsy but awake". Oh, you just put the baby down, and let him go to sleep? GENIUS. Why didn't I think of that? Clearly that was the answer.

Except that Dalton, from birth, screamed like he had been dropped into an ice bath if he was put down. Drowsy, awake, asleep, dead asleep, or anything in between - that child didn't appreciate it. There was no "drowsy but awake". Trust me, we tried. I tried so hard that my phone now autocorrects other things to the term "DBA". He wasn't having it. For us, drowsy but awake would have been letting our newborn cry it out, which, um, no. I worked really hard not to jump up and get him for every little cry, so if he was just fussing, I gave him time. But that was rare. More often, it was all out hysteria rather than minor fussing. I think some babies just have a smoother transition to life on the outside, and some, like mine, need a little more comfort to adjust.

Throwback Dalton newborn photo!

Dalton also didn't sleep anywhere but on us. Again, all those experts that were blessed with sleeping children gave us their sage advice. Swaddle, rock and play, white noise, warm up his sleeping spot, let him sleep with something you've worn, etc, etc, etc. We tried it all. Dalton is smart. He wasn't fooled by a tight swaddle and a rock and play, he wanted a parent. People probably judged that. I see people in FB mom groups (seriously I'm in too many) bragging about how they didn't nurse to sleep/didn't use sleep crutches/put baby in the crib from day 1/whatever. That's great. You didn't NEED to do those things. But I truly believe that some babies DO need them, because they are all different, just like adults. My husband can fall asleep anywhere, any time, with no problem. Me? I need to be in my bed, on my side, hugging my body pillow, preferably with white noise, and complete darkness. If there was one method that worked for all babies, there wouldn't be two trillion books/websites/theories all proclaiming they are THE way to get your baby to sleep.

Probably one of the last times he ever fell asleep with me :(

I liken it to Michael Phelps mom (who Dalton has met and high fived BTW). She put her kid in swim lessons, encouraged him, and BOOM - Olympic athlete. So she has a perfect method, right? Except for every MP, there are a few thousand kids also being encouraged in swim lessons who are just average swimmers at best. Is she a great mom for encouraging that natural talent? Absolutely! I'm sure her support was integral to his success. But all the rest of the parents whose results didn't yield an Olympian didn't do anything wrong. Kids: YMMV.



I know I didn't ruin him for life (or Royce either, who, incidentally, does the drowsy but awake thing) because the world's authority on motherhood and resident best mother ever, my own mom, nursed me, my brother, and sister to sleep, and NOT ONE of us requires it any longer. In fact, none of us required it past infancy, and on top of that, we are all functioning, even productive members of society. And Dalton now gets a story, song, kiss, and gets plopped in his crib and we see him in the morning. 

I guess this post doesn't really have a point, I'm just putting it out there because I bet there are other moms whose babies just say no to drowsy but awake, or wake up all night far past when they are "supposed" to, or just generally don't follow whatever some sleep expert said, so - solidarity. We can sleep when we're dead, and until then, COFFEE. 

I demand all mothers with sleep hating babies comment (no matter how old your baby is now) so that we can all join forces. #normalizebeingawakeallnight







Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Baltimore Half Marathon Recap


Back in the day, I used to carefully plan out my meal the night before and after any race, attack my pre-race hydration with a vengeance, spend the week before in compression socks nonstop...now, that's all over. I remembered I should be drinking more water Friday at lunch (although hydration is one thing I'm actually good at 24/7). After work, my friend and I met for happy hour. Sort of. We met at the McDonalds playplace, because it turns out there's an awesome one a mile from my house that I've never been to. But don't worry, I didn't actually get to consume anything I bought there (just a fruit smoothie, I was really just using them for toddler entertainment).

This guy took it all. 
She asked if I was carb loading and I was like ehhh I'll probably just have some leftovers. But then Eric texted and suggested we get pizza from our favorite place and he would pick it up so...anything in the name of race preparation.

Mainly I was concerned about pumping, because what else? In my case, I wasn't worried about Royce having enough milk, because we had enough in the fridge that I'd pumped Friday at work. The concern is just dealing with my own body. 

Here's a quick tutorial, for those unfamiliar. 

  • While breastfeeding, your body is constantly making milk.
  • That milk needs to come out at regular intervals, one way or another. 
  • Whether or not it comes out, it still continues to be produced. 
  • If you don't remove it somehow, your boobs just get larger and harder, not unlike small canonballs attached to your chest. 
  • Canonballs are very uncomfortable in general, and running with them is essentially hell.
Think of it like peeing. If you're about to go into a situation in which you have to hold it for a long time, you want to get everything out as close as possible to the beginning of this holding period. Unlike peeing though, where you can just stop drinking and keep it at bay, the milk just keeps building up no matter what. 

Somehow we've derailed and this race recap has turned into a very non technical lactation 101 tutorial. Anyway, that's why my concern was pumping rather than what dessert to eat after the race. To make this even more complicated, in addition to the confusion of approximately 25K runners descending on a city with very limited public transit, something called Fleet Week was happening, so a ton of roads were shut down. The race start, about 10 miles from my house, was now something like an hour away with no parking. To pump, drive an hour downtown, get to the race start would have put me at something like 5-6 hours without any relief and that's much too much, and as I've previously stated, I was not going to be pumping during the race because I'm not trying to go viral as a ZOMG #MOTHERRUNNER.

Thank goodness for amazing friends. Not only did Jackie sign up for the half as soon as I told her I was running (she's training for the Marine Corps full marathon in two weeks!), she and her husband also moved their cars out of their garage the night before the race so that I would have somewhere to park, and so would Eric when he brought the kids to the finish.

Ok, the actual recap.

But first, the medal.

It OPENS UP.

The half starts at 9:45am which is fantastic because I didn't even have to set an alarm. Royce woke to eat about 5:15, and usually once I'm up past the 5am hour I'm up for the day (except I can't seem to wake up to my alarm during that hour to exercise....weird). However, I managed to fall back asleep and slept until 6:45. Glorious. I was totally refreshed and got some time to sit around snuggling my baby and drinking coffee.

At 8, my friend Mandy (who was running her first marathon and did AWESOME) arrived at my house and we headed downtown to navigate the craziness of traffic and police checkpoints. It all worked out, I parked in Jackie's garage, pumped at her house, and her husband drove us to the race start. We arrived about 5 minutes before the first wave of runners (the fast people) started, and it was absolutely perfect. 

Even had time for a picture. 
While I do love small races, this is one big race that I love, parking nightmare and all. When you cross the start, music is blasting, confetti is thrown, and there are tons of people cheering. It's pretty exciting. I also love that I've run the course a million times, both in previous years doing this race, and also on training runs. I know what to expect. The whole city comes out and cheers and it's just fun. 

As far as the race goes, it was perfect. I stuck to my strategy of not wearing a watch, so I had no idea of our pace. I felt like I was pushing it, but we also could maintain a conversation (which we did, the entire 13 miles). We walked through all the water stops, so I used the same mental strategy as I used to during ultras - just focus on getting from one stop to another. Other than that, no walking! We did take one bathroom break. I feel like I don't have a ton to say, since my goal was just to finish, it wasn't a crazy PR attempt or anything. I did have one awesome moment when I saw the mile 5 sign when I had been sure we were at mile 4. We both kept saying how we couldn't believe how fast the miles were flying by (fast referring to our perception, not actual pace). 

Sounds cliche but before I knew it we were at mile 12. The race finishes through Camden Yards, the baseball stadium, which makes you feel like a celebrity. Jackie pushed me to "sprint" at that point, and I was dying (but of course I was glad after). As we approached the finish, I did get juuuuust a tad choked up, because I truly wouldn't have though I could run a half marathon 5 months after having a baby. 

We finished in 2:17! A good half hour slower than my glory days, but I feel good about it, and it leaves plenty of room for improvement.


I was sore after I finished, but I didn't feel like I was going to die, so, win. We hung around the finishers area, found Mandy, and Eric met us with the kids. I was definitely on a post race high. We walked back to the car and Dalton demanded that I carry him the whole way (which I secretly loved since he is in a bit of a daddy phase currently), so I got a good upper body workout too.


These two.
After the race, we got to watch the Blue Angels practicing from Jackie's rooftop deck. They're navy planes that go faster than the speed of sound and perform all these amazing tricks and do shows. Possibly the coolest part of the whole day. Dalton loved it.

The rest of the day, we just hung out and played at home.


It's not always easy being a #motherrunner, and I just need to say that there is NO way I would have been able to do this if I didn't have a #fathersupporter. Eric totally supported me and encouraged me every step of the way. While training, Jackie commented that she was impressed that I always seemed to be able to meet whenever/wherever to get our long runs in (her work schedule is waaaay more intense than mine), even with two kids. It's because I wisely chose a baby daddy who's just as much of a parent as I am. I've struggled with how to say this because it gets into that prickly territory of praising fathers for just doing the bare minimum to keep their kids alive. I truly hate that. But on the other hand, I am in several way too many Facebook mom groups and I constantly see posts from women talking about how they have to do all the childcare, their husbands don't know how to do basic parenting duties, etc. So while I'm certainly not saying that's what makes Eric a great dad (he's a great dad for so many other reasons), I do appreciate that when it's time to run, I can just...leave, and I know he's got it under control. I already have two kids and teach middle school, if I had to give directions to one more person in my life, I couldn't handle it. I'm not sure if that all made sense, how long can I cry sleep deprivation as an excuse?

TL:DR I appreciate my awesome husband continuing to be awesome.

Of course the question everyone has is...when's the next one? Honestly...I'm not sure. It was such a wonderful experience, both the race and the training. I really loved getting back to my hobby and feeling like "me" again, not just "Mom", since clearly I have been all consumed by motherhood. But actually racing wiped me out. Yesterday at work I was so tired it hurt. I'm really surprised how exhausted I've been since doing it. I'm thinking of aiming for spring, when Royce is older, (hopefully) starting to rely more on solids than on me, (REALLY HOPEFULLY) sleeping a little more? Maybe? And also at that point I'll be more in the swing of things with my new job. So we'll see. But overall, I rate the experience A++++.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

It's half marathon time


After something like two months of "training" - the half marathon is in less than 48 hours.


A few friends asked if I was "tapering". LOL. I think that's for people who do serious training. Also, I'm pretty sure tapering involves resting in general, so...

My preparation in a nutshell:
  • Long runs of at least 8 miles each weekend
  • One culminating distance of a ten mile run
  • At least 3 other weekly runs
  • Several 5-6 mile super hilly stroller runs
  • One non running work out each week (online Barre mainly)
  • Trying to eat vegetables sometimes
  • Completely forgetting to hydrate until writing this blog post
Not the best, but not the worst either. Most of my mid week runs were only 2 or 3 miles. I wanted to build those up to a longer distance, but when it came to getting up in the morning, the struggle has been so real. My new school starts earlier in the morning, I have double the amount of kids as I did last year, and I'm a year older and more tired. 

This week I don't know what came over me, but did something real dumb. When I say what I did, parents of babies will get it, and everyone else will think I'm crazy and overreacting. 

Since Royce was about a week or so old, he's been sleeping swaddled in the rock and play. (Prior to that, he would only sleep nursing.)

Back when he was teeny tiny...how did he get so big?

At five months, his little feet were sticking out the end, and it was getting ridiculous. I had to move him to a new bed. I don't want to put him in his own room until he's sleeping better, since it's on a different floor. I decided to put him in the pack and play in our room. So that's already a transition. We started that Monday night. 

Tuesday night is when I acted a fool. My ultimate goal was to have him sleeping in the pack and play or crib (aka a flat surface) unswaddled. I ignored all advice to do the transition slowly, even ignored Eric (rightfully) questioning me, and let Royce have both him arms out. I was going to just do one, but I didn't know which one to do, so I decided to just try both.



He wasn't ready.

I just love waking up to that smile. 
I finally gave up and reswaddled him around 3am. It wasn't terrible, but it definitely wasn't a great night of sleep.

This sort of sums things up. 

I really try not to complain about sleep, since I chose to have a baby, I love that baby, and it's not exactly like he's asking so much to, you know, be fed when he wakes up hungry. But I think the five months of sleep interruption just caught up to me this week. I'm so tired it hurts. Royce has amped up his night nursing game lately, so it's not even like Eric could take over and I could go sleep all night. He would gladly do it, but I would wake up in the middle of the night horribly engorged and defeat the whole purpose. Plus, I just got a clogged duct this week, and I'm terrified of going down that road again (the picture in the first post still haunts me). Again, I hate complaining, because I love breastfeeding, I love snuggling up to his soft little head in the middle of the night, I love that I don't have to say goodnight to him at 7 and not see him again till morning (like Dalton). I just wish that I could magically transfer the ability to lactate to Eric for like...two nights. 

Long story short: I have a baby, I have a full time job, I have a two year old, so I'm freaking tired.

He wanted to play with the Whoozit so he brought Royce the matching one...I die. 

Mentally, I think I'm in some sort of weird denial place. I still find myself thinking things like "it's only a half". I need to fully accept that the version of myself who thought things like that is gone, and there's a new, much less in shape version that will be running this race. I'm not even trying to put myself down, just be realistic that I'm in a different part of my life now and I'm not some super duper endurance runner at this time. To help with this, I'm not running with my watch (still the same Garmin 305, chugging away since 2009). I am running with my FitBit, because I'm not crazy, and I will send you a challenge request BTW. I don't want to finish and feel bad about myself because my time will undoubtedly be slower than the last time I did a half, when I was at my peak fitness. I want to finish and feel badass, because I just ran a half marathon just five months after having a baby.

On the #motherrunner topic, Eric is bringing both kids, I told him a million times he did not have to and I could just see them all at home (and I meant it, bringing both kids to a crowded place is intense), but he is insisting (he's kind of awesome like that). I'm not going to lie, I think it would be kind of awesome to see Dalton at the finish and cross the line with him. I'm not sure this is possible or even allowed, since it's a huge race, and he's also his own person with his own opinions about things, but let's just say I'm not ruling it out. I 100% plan to be all over social media, you can count on that. 

37 hours and counting - wish me luck!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Someday they won't need me


I have a wonderful series of weekends coming up.

Next weekend: Half marathon!

Weekend after that: My sister, brother in law, niece, and nephew are visiting!

Weekend after that: Girl's weekend in Richmond with my besties!

Yep, that's right, the lady who spent 9 months breaking out into a cold sweat about leaving my child to go to the hospital to have another baby is willing packing up and leaving town.

3 years ago, the four of us met up in Richmond and had a wild night on the town. 3 of us live here, in Baltimore, so we get to hang out all the time, but someone always has to ruin it. Our fourth partner in crime had to move all the way to North Carolina. Richmond is a halfway-ish point.




In the three years since we've met up, we've wanted to do it again, but pregnancies, babies, and life got in the way. We had talked generally about maybe doing it this fall. Then a minor miracle happened. Someone threw out the date of October 29 and...everyone was free. Choosing a date didn't take 57 emails and the sacrifice of a virgin, we somehow all were free that weekend, our husbands were all free to take over parenting duties, and it was on.

Clearly in competent hands. (I kid.)

I won't lie, when I got the official email that the reservations had been made, my heart started pounding. I'm not anxious about my kids' care, since they'll be with Eric. It's more just that I feel time is so precious while they are at these adorable, fun ages, and it feels like a sacrifice to willingly give up any time with them. I already have to leave them 40 hours a week for work, so to spend a large chunk of the weekend away feels wrong. I miss them like crazy the second they leave for daycare, and I cherish my weekends of nonstop time with them. Plus, of course, there's the guilt, especially now that Dalton is old enough to understand and cry "mommy".

I mean...just look at how funny and adorable he is! While I was getting Royce out of the car, he just plopped down with his doggies, and read his potty book.


And Royce is just the definition of cute. 
"Check out my awesome plaid pants!" 

I could have said no, of course. I didn't though, because at some point in the past two years, it occurred to me that there will come a time when my life won't be centered around my kids. I need to make my friends a priority too. I've been friends with Carolyn and Nicole since freshmen year of college, and Casi since we were in middle school! I think it's safe to say they are around for the long haul.

Carolyn and I once made a pact that we wouldn't be "those moms" that just talk about their kids all the time. File that under "dumb things I said before I was a parent", right under "MY kids will never behave that way". Karma is just beginning its epic bitch slap for that last one. There's just no way to ever understand how all consuming motherhood is until you're here. I thought it would change my lifestyle; I didn't understand it would change me. How could I? Who does?

I don't remember when it happened, but I know it took longer than I would have expected/it should have for me to come up for air and have this realization. In the thick of diapers and middle of the night feedings, it's easy to think "this is parenting". And it is, of course, a part of parenting, but that's all it is, a tiny little part. There will come a time where my kids don't need me. Of course, even typing that, I'm simultaneously tearing up and not truly believing it, since I'm still in the stage where they do need me, for everything. It's hard to imagine that if I do my job right, there will come a time where that won't be the case.

Just loving on each other, as usual. 

So all that to say - I'm going to Richmond, for one night, with my besties. It's going to be so amazing that I'm more excited about spending time with them than a night of uninterrupted sleep (especially since, let's get real, it's not going to be uninterrupted, I'm going to wake up in a world of pain and have to pump at some ungodly hour).


Monday, October 3, 2016

#oneundertwo #oneovertwo updates


Obviously, we were all waiting with baited breath for some updates on my kids.

I just need to say...I have some cute kids. 

I know I'm being repetitive, but these ages are just SO much fun. Royce is finally at that interactive baby stage he just loves being sung to, funny faces, and attempting to grab toys, and Dalton is just constantly communicating and now he actually wants to get my attention to tell me things. It's amazing.

Dalton

Age: 2! We've officially moved into measuring his age in years. No one really says their kid is "one", it's always 14 months or 20 months, etc. But once you're two, you're just two, maybe two and a half, but no one wants to hear that your kid is 26 months or whatever.
Weight: 27.5 pounds
Height: 33.5 inches
Clothing: Awkward stage - 2T clothes slide off his flat little butt (clearly he didn't inherit that from me), but most 18 month things are getting tight.

One size fire chief hats still fit great
Diapers: We use disposables overnight and he's solidly in size 5. We've been dealing with horrific diaper rash lately that makes me want to burn all the diapers, but then I remember the alternative is potty training, and then I think maybe diapers aren't so bad (except they are).
Eating: Some days he subsists on milk and air, other days he eats all the things. Yesterday I brought avocado egg salad and triscuits to the zoo for us to share for lunch, and I got about 3 bites. He ate the whole thing! I put four eggs in there! He was still hungry when my friend gave him a muffin like 20 minutes later. One thing that I'm really proud of him for is that he will try anything we give him. Our philosophy is that it's our job to serve it and you don't have to eat it, which is currently working well (and like all parenting, if it stops working, we will figure out something else).
Cool stuff he does: Walking up and down the stairs without holding on to anything like a pro, jumping, throwing away trash (so far he's pretty accurate with what qualifies as "trash") talking more and more (this probably won't cease to amaze me for awhile), especially using two word phrases and "no", which he just learned to say about a week before his second birthday. He had it practiced to perfection within hours of learning it. I know it will get old very fast so there's no need to be all "just wait", but right now the way he says it is the cutest and it's nearly impossible not to laugh every single time.

He also just had his first dentist visit!
Adjustment: He is completely obsessed with Royce (still), kisses him all the time, runs over to give him his pacifier if he cries, helps pick out his clothes, hands him toys and wipes him up (just randomly grabs a baby wipe any time he can and says "wash wash" while rubbing it all over Royce), tickles his feet, brushes his hair, and, just recently tries to imitate sounds and actions Royce makes. He's been randomly licking me and Eric, which we thought was so weird. Just tonight he started doing it right after Royce had grabbed my arm to gnaw on it, and I finally put two and two together and realized he's doing it because he sees Royce constantly putting our fingers/arms/any body part he can get into his mouth!


Obsessions: Any vehicle but especially fire trucks, lawnmowers, Mickey mouse clubhouse songs (he got a Mickey that plays the songs for his birthday and he barely put it down the whole weekend), eggs, cooking, playing in the sink.
Sleep: God help you if you wake this child, which we have to do, every weekday morning. You would think that love of sleep would apply at bedtime, but no, we're pretty sure he doesn't know that he can just lay down and go to sleep without at least a couple token yells to let us know he's not happy with it. He loves his bedtime routine though, and happily turns off his light and generally lays down and talks to himself for a bit after his angry period before going to sleep. His ideal sleep schedule is something like 8pm-8am, but we leave for work around 7am so...still working on that one. Naps are hit or miss, sometimes he takes one at home, sometimes he doesn't, if he does it's usually around an hour or so. Daycare naps are much better and more consistent.

Overall, he's just amazing.

Royce

Age:  4 months, 5 months on Thursday
Weight: 14lbs, 5oz at his last checkup - probably at least 15 by now!
Height: 24.5 inches
Clothing: With the exception of a few stretchy/big outfits, he's in 6 month clothes. I just put away all his newborn stuff (finally) and cried. It all seemed impossibly tiny already and even though it was just a few months ago, I couldn't imagine Royce fitting in to them ever.
Diapers: Royce seems to do much better with cloth so I don't even remember the last time I put a disposable on him, daycare uses size 2s for him.


Eating: Royce gets three 4oz bottles at daycare, and he usually has all 3, although some days just two. I sat with my fingers on the keyboard for a minute trying to figure out what to say about nursing frequency, but there's no rhyme or reason. I nurse on demand when we are together, so sometimes he goes more than 3 hours and sometimes not even an hour. He's nursing more often at night now - 4 month sleep regression? Daycare starting? Growth spurt? Who knows, he's a baby. The doctor says he's growing well, so, whatever, it's working!

Somewhere around 6 months we will start solids. We've been putting him in the bumbo to join us for dinner, and he definitely enjoys it and is starting to eye our food!

Toddler hand photobomb

At Royce's four month checkup, the doctor said to me "isn't it amazing that's all from you?". And I agreed, but didn't really think about it at the time. When I got home, it sunk in, and it is pretty incredible. A year ago, he was a ball of cells in my belly, the side of an apple seed (if that). Now he's over 14 pounds of baby chunk, grown completely, entirely from my body. Nothing else, I've been solely sustaining him since he existed. On one hand, it's the most mundane thing - we often say "everyone's done that", but being conceived, grown, and born is one of very few things that literally EVERYONE has done. On the other hand, when you actually see your body create a person - it's pretty incredible.

ALL ME

Sleep: We tried this new thing with Royce where we had him nap in the room that is actually entirely designed just for him (designed = he had a crib and his clothes are stored in there). I'm sad to say that he's pretty much past the point where he can just catnap wherever. He's old enough now that he is noticing and observing his surroundings, and while that makes his awake time much more fun, it also means I can't just stick him in the ergo or the bouncer and assume he'll fall asleep and I can just go about my business (usually, playing with Dalton).

Our daycare was on vacation last week, so my parents graciously came all the way down to Maryland (from NY) and watched our kids all week for us. On Sunday, Royce seemed tired and ready to nap, so I thought, what the hell, let's use that crib that's in his room. I'd put him in there a couple times before to try it but he had never really gone for it. He seemed fine with napping there, so that's what my parents did all week, and now I guess we've officially transitioned to the crib? He is still in the rock and play at night, despite the fact that his feet are almost hanging over the edge. He likes it and I don't want to mess with a good thing. His room is on a different floor of the house from ours, so I don't plan to put him in his crib at night until he's sleeping through the night, because I don't need to be going up and down the stairs at 2am.


At night, he has a similar bedtime routine to Dalton, and probably most babies: bath, massage, songs, pjs, swaddle, book, sometimes he nurses (depending when he last ate, sometimes he isn't interested), and down he goes, somewhere between 7-8, but I'm starting to notice the closer we can get it to 7, the better.

Milestones: This happy little guy now laughs! He rolls from belly to back all the time, pushes up on his arms, grabs toys, and is so so close to rolling from back to belly.

Not a newborn anymore. At all.


Obsessions: Royce now LOVES the exersaucer and screams with excitement when he is in it. He is a music lover and gets a huge smile whenever he is sung to, even though my voice is certainly nothing to smile about. He takes after his dad being a people person and just lights up when strangers compliment him in the grocery store. 

TL:DR These boys are the absolute best, I love them more than anything in this world and they make me smile pretty much nonstop. 


Monday, September 26, 2016

#twoundertwo no more


In just two short years, we went from this:


to this:


How? I'll never know.

I got a lot of sweet messages wishing him a happy birthday, and, more importantly, two asking me what my new hashtag would be. Something else I don't know. #twoundertwo #cantuseitanymore

I'm not sure why, but Dalton turning two hit me harder than when he turned one. Maybe because I was pregnant when he turned one, so I knew I was going to get to do it all over again? Now, they are just both growing so quickly, and as much as I love it, it's going too fast. Said every mom ever. I cried every time I thought of it all week. 

I'm still trying to comprehend how my tiny little 6 pound, 14 oz bundle of baby joy is now more than 27 pounds of toddler. Turning one is a huge milestone, but they are undoubtedly still babies, even at 12 months. At two, Dalton is officially a walking, talking, hilarious tiny person, full of jokes, kisses, and opinions. Not a baby by any stretch of the imagination. 

It does turn out that even at the mature age of 2, kids still don't really get the idea of "a birthday coming up", or at least, mine didn't. Probably because he's too young to have any concept of time. We'd originally planned on having a birthday party, because that's just what you do. Then my friend mentioned she wasn't having a second birthday party for her son, and I was like GENIUS. I never even thought of that. Dalton doesn't care, hates people, and I'm lazy AF. Not having a party fit into that framework perfectly. 

On Dalton's actual birthday, we had balloons waiting outside his door for him when he woke up, and he was SO excited. He was marching them all around the house and just thrilled beyond belief.


After work, he helped me bake Funfetti cupcakes, and then we had those for dinner #goodparenting. 

FOCUS

He loved having us sing happy birthday to him and definitely understood that he was getting special attention. The boys usually go to bed around the same time, but Royce was really tired and ended up going down early, and we let Dalton stay up a little late (his birthday was on a Friday so he could sleep in the next day, who doesn't love that?). It was perfect - we got some extra playtime with just the three of us and were able to focus all our attention on the birthday boy. 

Saturday, the four of us went downtown for the Baltimore Book Festival. I'm actually just mentioning that to show off this picture of me in my prepregnancy jeans with  my new haircut.

Since I fit into my jeans, I immediately stuffed my face with Shake Shack.
Also on Saturday, my stepfather came to visit! Dalton was so excited to see his grandpa and was squealing like crazy as soon as he pulled up.

On Sunday, we met up with friends for a playdate at the pumpkin farm (when editing, I realized I originally typed "pumpin" farm...yikes). 

Is there anything sexier than a man pushing a double stroller?

We went for the first time when Dalton was 3 weeks old, and Eric has been impatiently waiting for the moment when Dalton was actually old enough to enjoy all the activities.

The huge slide. 


He was fine going down with us, until his friend went by herself, and then we were dead to him.

Maybe he wasn't so sure about it?

The tire climbing thing. 
This kid loves tunnels.
Loving life in the stroller, as usual. 


I got a workout pushing the stroller up the hills. 
Getting all of our mommy group together is kind of a big deal, I'm so appreciative all these ladies came out so Dalton could celebrate his birthday with his little besties! (Sorry my hair is hiding Emma in this pic!).

My kids were both busy on eating #typical.

We took 17,000 hayride pictures, and Dalton is intently staring at the view in all of them. 



To review - all the kids had a crap load of fun, I didn't have to clean my house before or after, I prepared zero food, I have beautiful non-iPhone pictures for my blog (thanks Vince!) and frosting wasn't smeared on every possible surface in my home. WINNING. 

I need new hashtag suggestions.